The Sultanate of Oman is situated on the southeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula in a strategically important position at the mouth of the Arab Gulf. The country shares land borders with the United Arab Emirates to the northwest, Saudi Arabia to the west, and Yemen to the southwest. The coast is formed by the Arabian Sea on the southeast and the Gulf of Oman on the northeast. The Madha and Musandam exclaves are surrounded by the UAE on their land borders, with the Strait of Hormuz (which it shares with Iran) and Gulf of Oman forming Musandam's coastal boundaries. Oman is the only country in the Arab world where the majority of the population follows the Ibadi school of Islam.
From the late 17th century to the 19th century, the Sultanate was a powerful actor, vying with Portugal and Britain for influence in the Indian Ocean. Muscat was among the most important trading ports of the region. In the 20th century, as its power declined, the Sultanate became a semi-protectorate of Britain. The country gained its independence in 1971 and has since been ruled by the Al Said dynasty as a hereditary monarchy. Its current ruler, Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said has ruled the country since 1970 and is today the longest-serving (current) ruler in the Middle East.
The Sultanate has modest oil and gas reserves, ranking 25th globally. Therefore, a significant portion of its economy involves tourism and trade of fish, dates, and other agricultural produce.
Oman is a member of the United Nations, the Arab League, the Gulf Cooperation Council, the Non-Aligned Movement, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and the World Trade Organization.